Another Presidential election is upon us and once again the two parties have served up two candidates that tow the party line and polarize left and right.  Which leaves most Americans, who are somewhere in the middle, with little to be inspired about.  Granted, Obama has an ability to make folks feel all warm and tingly after one of his well-crafted speeches, and McCain is definitely worthy of our admiration as an American hero – neither of which is a good reason to vote for either one of them.  After ruling out the old “well at least he is better than the other guy running” argument, depending on your political leanings, there is no real good reason to vote for either one of them.


The problem is the polarization of American politics.  Here’s what I’m saying:  Americans only have two major parties and we all have to fit in one or the other at least when we vote for President.  So instead of having some moderation in both parties, it’s expected that everyone that’s a Republican be a pro-gun, anti-abortion, cut-taxes-for-the-fat-cat, pro-big oil, pro-big business, pro–go to war with whoever we want whenever we want, run-up-the-deficit “conservative”?    If you are a Democrat you are supposed to be an anything goes, morally relative, all inclusive cultural, big spending, pro-union no matter what, pro – abortion, anti – war, tree-hugging environmentalist, say you are for the little guy and then hang out with Hollywood elitist – “liberal” Democrat.


In reality most Americans are somewhere in between.  The problem is the in between part is getting wider and wider as the national parties stake their claims farther to the right and farther to the left of every issue.


Most every-day, working class, socially conservative Republicans would be shocked to see how welcomed “Log Cabin” Republican money is in their party. (If you don’t know what that is – these are Republicans that say Lincoln was gay and he is their Hero…get the picture?) They would be dismayed at the wine, women and song that accompany the get-to-gathers of their stalwart “family value” Republican congressman.  And what about the Republican family values congressman in bath room stalls and sending texts to under-age pages????  Not to mention…how is running up the biggest debt in history “conservative”? 


Meanwhile, hard working, perhaps union member Democrats, many of whom are Catholic in the Northeast or from socially conservative areas in the Midwest and South, and believe the government should protect American jobs, and in equal pay for equal work for women, and want help with our nations beleaguered health care system are left wondering where’s the party of Roosevelt and Truman? These folks wouldn’t feel real comfortable at a $5,000 a plate Democratic Hollywood fundraiser.


I can’t help but believe most Americans don’t want their preacher telling them a vote for a Democrat is a vote for the devil, but they could care less what some 20 something Hollywood actor has to say about the “dangerous” Republicans either, while espousing his views on the environment and talking about “evil” meat eating carnivorous humans, all while being protected by an armed body guard and saying you shouldn’t be allowed to own a hand gun.


It hasn’t always been this way. Used to be there were Northeastern Liberal Republicans like the Rockefellers and G.W.’s grandpa, Senator Prescott Bush. There were Conservative Southern Democrats like Howell Heflin and Sam Nunn and Moderate Midwesterners in both parties like Republican John Danforth and Democrat Ben Nelson.  When this was the case, it was ok to be a gay Republican or a gun-toting Democrat.  You could be a fiscal conservative and believe in the spotted owl’s right to roost on any dad gummed tree he wished no matter how many jobs it took away from loggers.  You could be pro-life and also support government intervention in free enterprise if it meant saving your job at the mill.  Politicians were forced to compromise and find solutions with members of their own party…. good practice for actual results when you had to work with the other side.


Plus there was a sense of common decency.  The media left people’s private shortcomings private.  There were no Shawn Hannity’s or Keith Obermann’s spouting out their opinion right down to the most absurd and passing it off as “the truth”.  Instead of impassioned partisan rhetoric, Americans got their news from the somewhat monotone unexcited folks like Walter Cronkite and David Brinkley.   Tip O’Neil played golf and told crude Irish jokes with Ronald Reagan…. and enjoyed their time together!  Reagan always said they were friends after 5 P.M.  Maybe the problem is we don’t stop politics at 5 P.M. anymore…it goes on 24 hours a day on the Internet and cable news channels: the vindictiveness and unwillingness to work together is evident all day…every day.


In the 2008 election cycle, which has gone on longer than any other in history, there were a couple of non-traditional candidates, but they didn’t get far.  Power broker Republicans made it clear they didn’t like the bass guitar playing, squirrel frying, Southern Baptist Preacher from Arkansas, Mike Hukabee.  Bigwig Democrats weren’t comfortable with a gun toting, bolo tie, cowboy boot wearing governor, who grew a beard, and that actually worked with the Republicans in his state, Bill Richardson of New Mexico. Maybe they didn’t get very far because folks like us could identify with them.  We could look at them and say, “I think he might understand where I’m coming from.”  Meanwhile, the elite in both parties were saying, “We have no idea who would vote for someone like that.”


At any rate, maybe the next time around there will be a candidate to get excited about and throngs of common every-day people with some conservative views and some moderate views and some liberal views will rally around him or her and elect them to the highest office in the free world…. if there are any of us left.


This is my opinion…comments are welcomed and if you have a different one that’s great!  Send it to us and we might put it on the web site. – Jimmy Holbrook – Owner/GM AM1180 Chattooga County Radio


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